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Spacey, Bassy and Psychedelic—A Chat With Planet Mu Artist, Ital Tek


If your finger is anywhere near the pulse of cutting edge EDM culture I imagine you have become accustomed to the spacey, bassy and psychedelic sounds of Brighton based Ital Tek through his last album, Midnight Colour released on Planet Mu.

Ital has been putting in a lot of work since then. His new album Nebula Dance is going to be released on October 22nd via Planet Mu and in light of this exciting news we gave him a call and discussed his new album, music videos and that crazy future timeline he posted in his Dazed & Confused interview.

Hey Alan it’s Kareem from Magnetic Magazine here.

Hi there, how are you?

I’m good, thanks. Yourself?

Yeah I’m good man.

So what have you been up to recently?

I was playing in Berlin this weekend and a festival in Poland, which were both really good. I’ve just been recovering from that, I wrote a few tunes in the week too.

Sweet, have you performed in a lot of festivals this year?

I played at quite a few in Europe this year; I haven’t done many UK ones.

Do you have a preference in terms of club shows and festivals?

Errm I tend to feel a lot more nervous at festivals. Because your way more exposed, the stages are bigger and you’re often playing early, or maybe I just had too many drinks, but there both really good fun, obviously you get bigger crowds at festivals, I mean, if festivals go well, they go really well. I feel more at ease in clubs though because they’re dark and small.

What’s been your favorite gig do far?

I think going over to Japan a couple of years ago was probably my favorite trip in terms of what I get to do when I go away to play, just because I love the place and it’s such an amazing opportunity to go there, but in terms of good gigs I would say Glade Festival, I remember playing that and the tent was absolutely packed and everyone was having it, that was really good fun. In general the best shows have been festival ones.

What’s your aim when you make a tune? Do you want to make something that people can dance too or do you make tunes purely for music’s sake?

I tend to start of making a tune without thinking about that too much, I just come up with an idea really quickly then I’ll make that into something and it either becomes a fully formed tune or I will just ditch it after half an hour, but if I then realize I’m on to something good, that’s when I start to think how would this work in a club, or if it’s for an album where would it fit in the sequencing of a record. I think more so in the last year I have been thinking of trying to make my tunes work in clubs, but it’s not the most important thing for me, I think of myself as more wanting to write music for people to listen to. If it works in clubs that’s obviously a good thing because I love touring and I want to play my music out loud.

What other directions do you want to take with your music? Do you want to keep it electronic or do you want to try other things?

I think for the foreseeable future I will be happy with my methods and how I go about making tunes. I think the one thing I do plan to do in the future is work with vocalists more, but I’m pretty happy working the way I do at the moment.

Yeah I get you; the possibilities are pretty much limitless with electronic music.

Definitely and I feel like even though I’ve been doing it for five or six years now I feel like there’s always more to learn and I’m always trying to push myself. I haven’t got to the point yet where I feel stale, so I’m still excited about making music electronically.

I have been going on about audio visual installations for like two years now, I find the lone producer and his MacBook set up to be a bit boring, do you ever plan to start bringing light shows into your live performance?

Yeah I think it’s definitely something I would be interested in. Especially for bigger shows, you want it to be a spectacle. It’s all very well playing a couple of shows when you’re just DJing, but later down the line I would very much like to have a light show or visuals or something like that. I have approached a few people with some ideas, it is something I’m kind of working on at the moment but it won’t be ready for a while.

OK, awesome, I look forward to that. I read that you live in Brighton and you prefer it for making music because it doesn’t have the stressful vibe that London has, what do you think the main reason for that is, is it simply the sea bringing in the fresh air?

I think that definitely has something to do with it. I can’t put my finger on it but it’s just got a really nice vibe down here. It feels like a city, it’s big and there is lots going on, but you don’t feel like it’s too busy, it’s just got a really cool creative atmosphere down here, that’s why I moved here really, I just wanted to get involved with the music scene which I have.

So is there a big music scene down there?

I couldn’t tell you at the moment to be honest. I have been here seven years now, when I first moved down here to go to the university for me it was so exciting because I moved from Oxford and there wasn’t much of an electronic music scene going on there, so when I first came here my first experiences were going to some big club nights other than the ones in London. But a lot of people who were integral to the scene here have moved away, a lot have gone to Berlin. There were a few years that the scene down here did kind of slump a bit, but it’s getting a lot better now, there are a lot of crews putting on good nights. I mean any weekend you are bound to have loads of good people playing here but I tend to not go out too much on the weekends because I’m either playing myself or I don’t want to be in a club when I have my weekend off.

I went to a few Brighton clubs recently but I felt like I wasn’t experiencing all the city has to offer, what would you say are their best clubs, with the best soundsystems?

There’s Digital which is quite a big one, that’s probably the best one, but I mean there lots of stuff going on in some of the smaller venues, there’s always some good stuff going on in a club called The Volks and LIFE do some good stuff, there’s loads of cool little clubs but there all tucked away.

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What is your main inspiration for making music?

That’s a really difficult question, I think when I’m touring that really drives me because you see how people react to your music, and you’re like wow, it’s a real thing. It’s great when people message you on twitter and email you telling you how much they love the record. But to see people really going for it, that’s what inspires me to want to do it again. When I’m more focused on writing and I’m not doing as many shows it’s just something that comes very naturally to me, I always want to make music, I’m always thinking about it, even it I hadn’t have got signed I would like to think I would still be doing it anyway.

Yeah I guess recognition and reactions from people is the biggest charge of any artist.

Yeah it makes you feel very lucky when you can see lots of people enjoying what you do.

How did the Planet Mu signing come about? That must have been amazing.

Yeah, some of the people I knew when I first moved down to Brighton were putting on shows here and they were always telling me I should send my stuff to Planet Mu, but I never did. I was a bit too nervous about it. If you send something to someone, you’re basically saying it's good enough and I didn’t have that much confidence in my music back then. Luckily the label heard my stuff randomly on Myspace and then they got in touch and asked me to do an EP, and it all just went on from there. I did the album a year after that.

What would you say is the driving force behind Planet Mu?

Well the driving force is definitely Mike Paradinas who owns the Label. I mean there is staff but he is the guy and it’s his vision and he is very sure of what he likes. I mean I probably couldn’t tell you what that vision is but I think my music fits into that and you can tell from the other kind of artists on the label there is a clear kind of sound, even if you’ve got different people doing different things there always something in there that is unique and a bit left field, it’s just got a really honest sound, you can tell most of the artists on the label love what they’re doing.

Do artists on the label ever hang out or contact each other and talk about tunes?

Most people don’t live in the same area, having said that a few people from the label do live in Brighton like Mike Paradinas, I see him fairly often. I can play my tunes to him in his house or in the car when we are trying to figure a record out. We all see other at gigs and when were on the road, but apart from emailing our tunes to each other we don’t all get together often but we do sometimes. There was a night at Corsica Studios a few weeks ago and we were all there.

I meant to go to that night; how was it?

Yeah it was really cool, absolutely rammed and it was a situation where all the people on the label had a chance to hang out so that was nice.

Do you feel like your sound has evolved while being signed to Mu?

When I got signed to the label I was only 19 and I kind of didn’t know what I was doing. I feel like back then I was just kind of messing around, just learning how to use software and stuff. I got some good results and I’m proud of the records I did then. I feel like I have really pushed myself to change my sound and you know really make something different and that comes from the guidance of the label. They are really very honest on what they like and what they don’t like and they give me a lot of advice which has been very helpful.

The Babel music video is awesome man; I really love that video

Thanks I didn’t really have anything to do with it to be honest. A friend of mine at the university, there called Halcyon Nights, did it. They put in their own money and a lot of time and effort into that video. I was pleased with how it came out I didn’t have any creative input so it was funny to see someone else’s take on my music, but they did a really professional job though.

Have you got any new music videos in the pipeline for the new album maybe?

There is one that has just been finished and it’s up on YouTube at the moment, the title track "Nebula Dance" so you can check that one out, I’m sure there will be another video off the album but I think I might get a professional to help me out but still have my creative input in the video because up until now it’s always been somebody else doing my videos.

Is there a reason you chose to distance yourself as a person from your music?

I don’t think it was a conscious decision it’s just maybe how I’m like as a person really I’m not a particularly extroverted individual, if I’m on stage I’m not jumping around all over the place. I know it’s a cliché thing to say but I’m more interested in people listening to my music rather than listening to me. There’s great frontmen and women with big personalities but at the end of the day people are into the music aren’t they, so I put all my energy into that.

Yeah I think that’s the best way forward to be honest, the albums great what else inspired it apart from the cosmos?

It kind of came from the last 2 years of me getting into Chicago footwork I found a real refreshing energy in those tunes. Through Planet Mu I got exposed to a lot of that stuff because they were championing that sound and I was listen to lots of the music Mike was sending me and it just got me really excited, so on one level I wanted to bring that sort of energy into my tracks and on the other side I’m just a sucker for big sci-fi synths and I just love bassy psychedelic sounds. It was kind of me trying to meld together two very different influences

Yeah I think it really worked man, when did you start going to the studio?

Well after my last album which was in 2010 I kind of starting working on stuff for what would be this record but none of those tunes actually ended up on the album, I made hundreds of tracks over the course of two years and sent half of them to the label and with that we got the twelve tracks that are on the album plus some that went on the EP last year. Nebula Dance was the last track I wrote for the album and that one really flipped the switch on in my head and made the rest of the record make sense. I think it’s the kind of record that needs to be sequenced correctly and I think the label helped putting it together in the right order.

Where did the album cover come from its pretty cool?

Yeah my brother did that, he’s 20 years old and he just started at uni doing his illustration degree and I saw some of his work and was like this is wicked so I asked him to do artwork for the EP last year and he sent me this huge illustration he done and we cropped a circle out of it, and the label really liked his stuff and said we should get him to do the album cover and he went away and made a new one, I didn’t have much input on what he did because it came out really good, I think we’re going to work together a lot more in the future.

Keeping it in the family, sweet. I saw your Dazed interview and I checked out that Timeline you posted, it's fucking awesome man.

I can’t remember how I found that but it blew my mind when I first checked it out, I was really annoying everybody at the pub telling them to check this out.

Haha, I’ve being doing the same thing.

After I did that interview so many people got in touch with me about that website.

Yeah I’m proper interested in Transhumanism and emerging future technologies and it seemed like quite a scientifically viable and accurate estimation of future technological developments. On that note what do you think the next format for music will be? Because on the timeline it was more kind of virtual reality, energy and computing stuff.

Yeah more military and medical kind of things. Wow, if I think I was able to answer that question I would be a very rich person right now. It’s a fascinating question though, because the way we have lived with music hasn’t dramatically changed for a very long time, people still listen to music with speakers and headphones, so I don’t know.

Something holographic I imagine, but anyway I got to shoot off, it’s been nice talking to you.

You too man.

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